Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

  Covid-19 takes away the communal joy at Eid-al-Fitr celebration

Worshipers attend Eid-al-Fitr prayers at Iqra Masjid in Brooklyn, after restrictions were eased on religious ceremonies. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla.

At about half past 7:00 a.m yesterday in Brooklyn, , Imam Ahmed Ali ushered in a few dozen worshipers to Iqra Masjid for the Eid-al-Fitr prayers which marks the end of fasting of the holy month of Ramadan. 

Ali said he has ‘‘never seen any Eid celebrations like this in his adult life.” Not much was put into planning the event unlike previous years. There was no call to prayer on the megaphones. The announcement was posted on social media with a link for followers to join the prayers online. The few who had the opportunity to be in the mosque, live in the neighborhood. 

“If it’s a real one we would have blocked the whole road, we will go and stand on the street. We will have NYPD presence. We will have extra prayer rugs,’’said Ali.  ‘‘Because when we stand for the prayers, we stand next to each other. Feet to feet, shoulder to shoulder. So even in this room we were going to fit maybe 100 people.’’ 

Sunday’s prayers in the Mosque were the first in nearly three months with attendees. 

U.S. officials banned large gatherings including religious services to reduce the spread of the coronavirus across the country. New York State became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US with more than 360,000 confirmed cases and 23,000 deaths. But last week Gov. Andrew  Cuomo eased restrictions on ‘‘non- essential gathering’’ including religious ceremonies, limiting it to 10 people ahead of the Memorial Day ceremonies. 

 The restrictions were eased just in time for Eid celebrations which enabled Imam Ali’s mosque to open its doors once again to worshipers.

 While Ali is ensuring that the worshipers do not exceed the number directed by the state for a religious gathering, in the mosque his son leads the prayers which was streamed live on Facebook for those who could not attend. 

Son of Imam, Maaz Ali leads Eid-al-Fitr prayers at Iqra Masjid in Brooklyn. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

 But the coronavirus pandemic has taken away the joyous celebration of this important holy festival on the Islamic calendar.  Restrictions placed on large gatherings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in most countries have confined worshipers to their homes.  Many will not be able to visit family or friends, share sweets and take part in the merry making that usually climaxes this event.  

“It’s not really good, because we have fear for ourselves. We have fear for our community members. We don’t want to get sick and we don’t want to make them sick. So of course we have a fear and we are not feeling good,’’ he said.

 Ali  has offered funeral prayers and supervised the burial of more than a hundred Muslims who died from contracting the coronavirus. Ali acknowledged this is a difficult time, but said he has ‘‘to stand up and do something for his community.” 

“I wish that almighty God bless all the world with safety, health and all the blessings we need to be successful in this world and hereafter,” he said.  

Worshipers wear protective masks during Eid-al-Fitr prayers. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Man listens to Eid-al-Fitr sermon. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Eid prayers were limited to not more than a group of 10. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Imam Ahmed Ali welcomes boy to Eid prayers. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Boy prays during Eid-al-Fitr prayers. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Worshipers observed social distancing during Eid prayers. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Man prays at Iqra Masjid in Brooklyn. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Imam Ahmed Ali prays for the safety of his community. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Man puts money into a donation box at the mosque after Eid-al-Fitr prayers. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla

Worshipers leave the mosque after Eid prayers on Sunday. May 24, 2020. Photo by Narkwor Kwabla


Tags


Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

The pandemic is causing mental health struggles for many Latinos

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 24, 2020

Politically divided family can agree on one thing, rallies are bad during a pandemic

Michelle Diaz September 23, 2020

New Yorkers are vulnerable to mental issues due to pandemic

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 23, 2020

Healthcare professionals struggle with Trump’s decisions during pandemic

Tori Luecking September 23, 2020

Some Americans Say “Not So Fast” on Operation Warp Speed

James Pothen September 23, 2020

Trump voters unfazed by morality of Trump’s Covid response

Norah Hogan September 22, 2020

Trump rallies continue, despite the rising Covid-19 death toll

Isabel Beer September 22, 2020

Latinos weigh in on President Trump’s management of the pandemic

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 21, 2020

Fast track vaccine causes fear

Kaity Assaf September 21, 2020

It’s business as usual at McSorley’s Old Ale House

Tori Luecking September 20, 2020

Trump defiance to hold indoor rallies amidst COVID-19 sparks polarized responses 

Courtney Guarino September 20, 2020

NYC Cafes and restaurants try and survive the pandemic

Isabel Beer September 19, 2020

A typical afternoon at Shade Bar NYC

Kaity Assaf September 19, 2020

West Village staple, Caffe Reggio, remains open for outdoor dining in the wake of coronavirus restrictions 

Norah Hogan September 19, 2020

Fort Greene’s Dino adds outdoor dining to keep business flowing

Courtney Guarino September 19, 2020

COVID-19 hampers Fashion Week for photographers

Daniel Karel September 18, 2020

On the heels of revelation that Trump downplayed the covid threat, voters question rallies resuming

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 16, 2020

Overburdened mothers in Pakistan are relieved as schools reopens

Quratulain Tejani September 13, 2020

Students from different parts of the world struggle as schools reopen during a pandemic

Chuyan Jiang September 12, 2020

Special needs students face learning obstacles during Covid-19

Courtney Guarino September 12, 2020

Back to school – COVID-19 style 

Isabel Beer September 12, 2020

The new normal for school life is abnormal in Michigan

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 11, 2020

California School District Parents and Teachers Clash About Return to School

Norah Hogan September 10, 2020

A tribute to the mask pioneers

Bohao Liu July 11, 2020

Air pollution in China rebounds to pre-COVID level

Hannah Zhang July 11, 2020

ICE takes aim at international students

Maria Abreu July 10, 2020

Chinese students trapped by new ICE policy

Zishu Sherry Qin July 10, 2020

New ICE policy adds more turmoil to the lives of international students

Shiyu Xu July 10, 2020

Lawsuits follow ICE policy barring international students who are taking online classes

Joanna Lin Su July 10, 2020

Economists say the US needs a bold, generous fiscal response. Congress is likely to disappoint. 

Ahmed Mohamed July 9, 2020

Overseas Singaporeans have pandemic obstacles to voting

Yifan Yu July 9, 2020

Proximity sensors and hygiene stations are the “new normal”

Joanna Lin Su July 9, 2020

 Tour ticket vendors miss the hustle and bustle of Times Square

Narkwor Kwabla July 8, 2020

Dengue outbreak could be a greater threat than covid in Singapore

Yifan Yu July 8, 2020

Corporate bankruptcy: ‘A story that’s not going away’

Gaurav Sharma July 7, 2020

Beijing reopens as the second wave of coronavirus dies down

Hannah Zhang July 6, 2020

Masks or no masks?

Bohao Liu July 5, 2020

Varsity Flu

Madeline Gunderson July 3, 2020

Rail travel in China is popular during the pandemic and filled with safety measures

Bohao Liu July 3, 2020

Brazilian international student caught in US travel ban.

Marina Guimaraes July 3, 2020

MTA faces crisis following COVID shutdown

Daniel Girma July 2, 2020

Easter Market goes back to its roots

Kyla Milberger July 2, 2020

China’s Airline Industry Aims to Lure Back Passengers with Unlimited Flight Pass

Zishu Sherry Qin July 1, 2020

US corporate debt soars during coronavirus outbreak

Gaurav Sharma June 30, 2020

In Singapore, gay pride goes online

Yifan Yu June 29, 2020

The Hair Room reopens

Shiyu Xu June 29, 2020

A second wave of the coronavirus creates travel woes in Beijing

Hannah Zhang June 29, 2020

Despite a few bumps, NYC is social distancing more than not

Joanna Lin Su June 29, 2020

Backyard music lessons

Madeline Gunderson June 28, 2020

Experts say ISIS exploits chaos of global pandemic to rebuild

Marina Guimaraes June 26, 2020